What You Need to Know About Building Permits

What You Need to Know About Building Permits

Building a house is an exciting, yet daunting task. For homeowners, it’s a wonderful opportunity to build a home and to be able to live in a house that no one else has lived in before. Adding on to your existing home is also exciting. Whether it’s another bedroom, a sunroom, or a deck, you can create a space that makes your home bigger! One of the daunting and challenging parts of building a home or adding an addition, however, is the permits. When do you need a permit? Who do you talk to? What’s the process?

The good news is that Houston Plans and Permits can help you out with all of your house plans, additions, and permit needs. We have been providing Houston and the surrounding areas with beautiful house plans and helping residents apply for permits since 2001. Whatever you’re dreaming of, we’ll make sure it’s completed with the highest level of expertise and precision. Give our team a call if you need help with a house plan design, if you’re adding on to your existing home, want to build a shed, and more.


First, Why Do You Need a Permit?


If you’re thinking “I’m just putting up a shed, what’s the harm in that?” This thinking is exactly what residents are required to obtain a permit before building on their property. Each state, region, county, and city have building codes that are put in place to ensure that all work maintains a uniform level of aesthetics and safety. Permits are required to ensure that the builder who does the construction, as well as the homeowner, are safe in the event that the shed falls over, for example.

How to Get a Permit

If you have questions about how to obtain a permit, you can always contact your local building department. Or, you can work with Houston Plans and Permits, and we’ll take care of everything for you. Generally, the process for obtaining a permit will include:

  • Filling out a building permit application.
  • Submitting a request that includes proof that you own the property and the house plans or construction plans for whatever is being built.
  • Paying any required application or permit fee.
  • The building department will approve the permit.
  • In the case of new home construction, a final inspection or Certificate of Occupancy will be required before moving in.

What You Need a Building Permit For

When you’re building a new house, it should be clear that you will need a permit for this project. But for many other projects, it’s not quite as clear. Essentially, if you are changing the look or layout of a property, or changing anything with the electrical, plumbing, or mechanical systems, you’ll need a permit. Here are some examples of projects that you will need to obtain a permit for:

  • A new roof
  • A kitchen remodel
  • Home additions
  • New electrical panels
  • Moving or adding plumbing fixtures or electrical systems
  • Adding windows or doors
  • A swimming pool
  • Finishing an attic, basement, or garage
  • Installing solar panels
  • Building a shed

What Else?

Building codes and building departments aren’t always the easiest, or fastest, agencies to work with. Before you start picking out paint colors for your new house, know that it can take between 30 and 60 days for a permit to be approved. This timeline can vary depending on how swamped building department staff are at the time.

The cost for a building permit will vary greatly depending on what is being constructed. For a new house, permits can cost between $1,200 and $2,000. A simple fence surrounding your house may cost only $60. A deck or shed can cost up to $2,000. Keep the cost of the permit in mind as you’re putting together an overall budget for the project.

Do some research into property setbacks before you start building a shed, adding an extension to your house, or installing a pool in your yard. Property setbacks are put in place to ensure that buildings or structures aren’t too close to each other and are protected in the event of a fire. Typically, a certain amount of space is required between the structure and the property line.


  • Work With Houston Plans and Permits
  • Whether you need house plans for a new construction, garage plans, if you’re building an addition, or a building permit for a new deck, Houston Plans and Permits can help. We’ve been through this process hundreds of times, and we can make sure that it’s as smooth and efficient as possible. Learn more about our house plans and permit services, and get in touch with us today to get started! We’ll make sure your Houston home is exactly how you imagined it, and more.